Book Review; True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre


True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre. Crossway 2014. 128 pages. Hardcover Kindle

The gospel of Jesus Christ really does redeem everything, including beauty. It really does reach into the heart of “if only I could get this taken care of” and takes care of it. Our beauty crisis is no match for the truth of God’s Word.

In True Beauty  Mahaney and Whitacre provide us with a much needed foundational theology of beauty. Now this isn’t Mahaney’s and Whitacre’s exhaustive concordance of beauty. But in 128 pages they provide a solid Gospel foundation and a springboard for further study on the topic of beauty.

To begin the book Mahaney and Whitacre inform us of the problem of beauty and our culture. They provide statistics and information to support the point that;

Our society has taken physical beauty and made it a god. The message of the gospel according to beauty is proclaimed in every advertisement and television show: Beauty equals happiness. Beauty brings fulfillment. Beauty means success. Don’t have physical beauty? You are condemned.

Throughout the book they weave personal stories and stories from other women who have struggled in the area of beauty. Even though they paint a true and grim picture the authors don’t leave us hopeless and without a solution. They do an excellent job of pointing out the fleeting nature of beauty and holding it up to the unchanging and relevant truths of Scripture.

In the remaining 6 chapters of the book Mahaney and Whitacre provide for us a Biblical-Theological understanding of beauty. Each chapter reads like a New Testament epistle in the sense that they lay out a Biblical-Theological framework and then they point out the practical implications of the framework and how it relates to everyday life. They also do an excellent job of staying Gospel Centered. With a book about beauty it can easily turn into a list of rules and legalistic, but in True Beauty they keep the focus on the Gospel and the heart of the reader.

Each chapter is excellent, with that being said I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 2 True Beauty and Our God. In this chapter they point out that God is the sum of all things beautiful and more. As his children we are to reflect that beauty to the world. How do we do that? We compare our taste for beauty to the beautiful attributes of God.

Take, for example, God’s holiness. If God is pure and cannot look on sin, then our style preferences should be in harmony with this aspect of his beauty. If we admire and enjoy clothing that is immodest, provocative, or seductive, then our tastes belie the beauty of God’s holiness. Rather, the Christian woman should value a style and appearance that represents the purity and holiness of God.

True Beauty is written with women in mind. Their target is women. My family and I sat and read this together because the principles apply to both men and women. I also wanted my daughter’s to hear the truths and testimonies in this book and I told my son’s as we read this book think about how this effects your decisions on a future spouse. I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Crossway Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


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